Jump to content
Linguaholic
Improve your knowledge of any language online

Recommended Posts

Use SHOULD and SHOULDN’T for advice

Here are some examples of using should and shouldn’t to ask for and give advice and suggestions:

“I’ve had a really bad headache for the past week.”

“That’s not good – you should go to the doctor.”

“I want to make more friends, but I don’t know how.”

“First of all, you shouldn’t spend so much time on the computer. You should go out and join a club or start playing a sport instead!”

“I had a fight with my best friend. What should I do?”

“Hmm… I think you should call her and tell her you’re sorry.”

Use COULD and COULDN’T for ability in the past

Could and couldn’t are the past forms of can and can’t:

When I was younger, I could run a mile in 7 minutes. Now it takes me 20 minutes!

Yesterday, I couldn’t find my wallet anywhere – but this morning I found it.

Last year, he couldn’t speak English very well, but now he can.

Use COULD for possibilities in the future

Here’s an example of could to talk about future possibilities:

“Do you have any ideas for our publicity campaign?”

“Yes, I’ve got a few ideas. I could put advertisements on Facebook and Google. We could also give out pamphlets in our neighborhood. Maybe John could even contact local TV stations.”

Use COULD to make polite requests

Could you please open the window? It’s hot in here.

Could you turn the music down? Thanks.

Could you make 10 copies of this report, please?

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 months later...

That was a really nice and detailed explanation. If I may add up, when you say "should," it means that you need to do something. For example: "I should throw this out." It means that you need to throw the thing out. When you say "could," it means that you have the ability to do something but it's not definite that you're actually going to do it. For example: "I could throw this out." It means that you can throw the thing out but there's no assurance that you will actually do it. Hope this help as well!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Use SHOULD and SHOULDN’T for advice

Here are some examples of using should and shouldn’t to ask for and give advice and suggestions:

“I’ve had a really bad headache for the past week.”

“That’s not good – you should go to the doctor.”

“I want to make more friends, but I don’t know how.”

“First of all, you shouldn’t spend so much time on the computer. You should go out and join a club or start playing a sport instead!”

“I had a fight with my best friend. What should I do?”

“Hmm… I think you should call her and tell her you’re sorry.”

Use COULD and COULDN’T for ability in the past

Could and couldn’t are the past forms of can and can’t:

When I was younger, I could run a mile in 7 minutes. Now it takes me 20 minutes!

Yesterday, I couldn’t find my wallet anywhere – but this morning I found it.

Last year, he couldn’t speak English very well, but now he can.

Use COULD for possibilities in the future

Here’s an example of could to talk about future possibilities:

“Do you have any ideas for our publicity campaign?”

“Yes, I’ve got a few ideas. I could put advertisements on Facebook and Google. We could also give out pamphlets in our neighborhood. Maybe John could even contact local TV stations.”

Use COULD to make polite requests

Could you please open the window? It’s hot in here.

Could you turn the music down? Thanks.

Could you make 10 copies of this report, please?

This is good, it shoes us when and how to use this two words, thank you and keep on teaching us on how to use different words.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 months later...
Scribendi: World-Class Editing and Proofreading

Thank you for posting this. I have always thought that "should" has an imposing tone to it, like "You should do it now!" as compared to "could" that just suggests that you can do something. I always judge words by how they sound and fit in a sentence. Now at least I know the reasons behind it.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

These are good examples. The easiest way to remember if you "should" or "shouldn't" or the "coulds" is to think of it as positive and negative in wording. Should is used in a positive unsure like "Should I go" and shouldn't is a negative question to someone "Shouldn't you put on a seatbelt" like the other course of action would not be a good one.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

"Should" can also be used to express likelihood in the future rather than just the possibility of "could."

For example: if I don't know the weather forecast, I might say "it could rain tomorrow." But it might not! Saying "it should rain tonight" on the other hand means that I have a reason to believe it will, like I've seen the clouds or heard the forecast.

You can also use could for possibilities in the present as well: "That could be him over there, but I'm not sure." Or "You're coughing, you could have a cold."

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 6 months later...

Thanks for sharing these tips to us here. Very relevant and helpful. Honestly, there would also be times that I would get a little confused which one to use between "should" and "could." It's a good thing that you have given us a detailed information about the right usage of each one of these modals.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

In a nutshell, "should" is more mandatory while "could" is more optional. In other words, something has to be done when you use "should" while it may or may not be done if you say "could."

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...